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The 5 Stages of Creativity

We are born to create. It is in our DNA. Woven in every fiber of our being. We are storytellers. It is in the natural form of our being and existence.

Person holding clear glass jar against starry sky

Sometimes with daily life, creativity feels like miles away. We know it lives and breathes inside of us but accessing our creativity and the creative process can feel daunting after a day's work with dishes still to be washed and laundry to be folded. Creativity ebbs and flows. It has a profound effect on our mental health, sense of purpose and bringing meaning to our life. In a previous post, I talked about ways to nurture your creativity, you can find it here.

Still, the creative process feels like you are walking through a forest without a compass and an unknown final destination. You wonder, where am I in this creative process? Creativity has five stages! Perhaps this can help you begin to create your map for your creative journey.

1. Preparation and Practice— This is where you learn the craft and immerse yourself in the art form. If you are a writer, you read other writers and model their style. You research, practice, copy artists you admire and you practice some more. In this phase you build the muscle where the art form becomes second nature. For me, I write every day no matter what. It can be a pile of useless words or burgeoning ideas. Every day I write and I read authors that I aspire to write like.

2. Incubation— This is where the cooking happens and you are simmering and whirling in the art form. This is where all your research floats into the subconscious mind. This is where novel connections happen without you thinking and you are in your imagination network… It’s a constellation of connections happening in the back of your mind. Where you are in the daydreamer mode and you are meditating on it. This is when the highly imaginative network is at play. This is where you hold your ideas close to your heart and are playing and exploring all the ideas.

3. Insight— This is the “aha moment” or the time where all the light bulbs come on. Classically this is what we think of as being creative. Insight is where creativity, awe and pragmatism come together. The aha moment where it all comes together. The natural divine insight. The aha moment cannot be willed; it naturally unfolds and comes into light. This can happen in the shower, driving in the car, or after meditating. For me many of my aha moments happen while I’m walking in my neighborhood and immersed in nature!

4. Evaluation— This is the time you review your idea and explore its originality. Review process and generation of inquiry of the novelty. Ask yourself, is this a new idea? Synthesis of your ideas emerge and you begin to share your ideas with others to check your level of creative innovation! For me, this phase is not something to get caught up in! Here you need to know that NO ONE, not ANYONE, can create like YOU! Trust that your creative vision is worth sharing and that no one, not anyone has your VOICE! That in itself is original and the magic of your being. As a collective we need you and your participation so share your creative vision.

5. Elaboration— This is the perspiration phase where you roll your sleeves and get to work. This is where the vision of creativity comes to light. It may take some time as you work through and create your vision. For me, when I wrote my first book I spent many hours, days and weeks in solitude. I allowed myself to be totally immersed in my creative mind space. As I was in the thick of it, I was challenged, I doubted myself and I pushed myself to get beyond my fears and trust to create. I made the conscious choice to trust that what I was offering was going to land with readers and I envisioned connecting with them through the page. Keep going, create and share your creative vision. It may take a lot of sweat, tears and years! Creating art heals the collective.

Art is a moment of grace. A timeless transmission that carries emotions, thoughts, imagination, and the truth and fiction of life. The flow of creativity lives in the mind of the creator, in the act of creating it is alive and then shared with the observer where the flow from one’s mind transmits to another as art. From one mind to another and another and another where time is suspended and the eternal flow lives within our bones. The timelessness of storytelling is the continued rebirth of art that touches the inner being of one and then another and then another. Art evolves culture, betters society and shapes the collective consciousness nurturing the heart of humanity.

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